by Aya97, May 8, 2021

Here is the 2nd Part of my article. In case you haven't seen the 1st Part and would like to see more recommendations feel free to do so. I was actually surprised by some of the discussions that aroused based on my first article. I can see how passionate people are about their likes/dislikes and I really appreciated having those discussions.

Going on, I hope this 2nd part will be as helpful as the 1st one, and please feel free to state your opinion on these films and add to the list if you have a film that you think everyone should watch! We never know where our next favorite could come from.

P.S. The list is made in NO particular order! There may be minor spoilers! 

Us and Them

Year:2018   Director:Rene Liu   Genre:Romance,Life,Drama   Country:China

Some of you might have heard of the term "manic pixie dream girl", and if you didn't I can help you with it. This term basically means that the MPDG exists to help the male protagonist achieve happiness without ever seeking any independent goals herself. She's there to teach the male protagonist what life is all about and how to enjoy it to the fullest (most of the time the male protagonist is the brooding type, not very social, and falls in love with her energy and spike at first glance). So yes, Us and Them can check some of those boxes but in my opinion, it's a little more than this. 

Firstly, I would like to give the female director Rene Liu a big round of applause. As far as I know, this was her directorial debut. I think that because it was directed by a woman, even if the female protagonist had some of the traits that define the MPDG, she was constructed in such a way that she overcame those and throughout the film, she was her own person. Xiao Xiao (Zhou Dong Yu) was definitely a raw human being with problems, worries, and dreams. This being said, she is still being presented from Jian Qing (Jing Bo Ran)'s point of view so our opinion is based on his.

This film has everything from romance to drama. We follow these character's life from their 20's to their 30's. Their relationship changes from friends to lovers and beyond. It has a bittersweet scent to it that makes it feel so much more realistic and raw. It depicts the idea that life goes forward and what you make of it is your responsibility. I loved all the interactions between the characters, especially those between Jian Qing's father and Xiao Xiao. It reminded me of how when someone becomes part of somebody's life it doesn't end only between those two people but also their environment and the people close to them.

I Can Speak

Year:2017  Director:Kim Hyun Seok  Genre:Drama,Life,Friendship  Country:South Korea

In part inspired by "real events", I Can Speak feels like a personal letter that gets discovered by accident. The first part got me really confused because I couldn't put the movie in a specific genre - I decided to stick with comedy. This is funny now because it's everything but COMEDY. 

We start off by meeting this lady Ok Boon (Na Moon Hee), who seems to make it her job to bring justice in her neighborhood - but it seems like the "crimes" she reports are things most people really just ignore on a daily basis, so from the start you see her as meddling and over the top. Next, we meet Park Min Jae (Lee Je Hoon), a really faded man, who doesn't really stand out from the crowd and just wants to live his life in peace. Those two characters, who have nothing in common, happen to interact out of necessity, Ok Boon making her complaints to Min Jae's workplace. In the beginning, he sees her as a nuisance and annoying, especially after she asks him to teach her English out of the blue. And from here on we get to the second part of the movie.

I choose to not comment on the second part because the spoiler could ruin the movie for those that have not seen it. I can just say that you will start to see Ok Boon in a different light. In the end, I was amazed by her devotion to wanting to be heard and the courage she displayed in facing her past. Na Moon Hee played her with such warmth and joy, it made me want to meet her in real life and listen to her story. It's not a perfect movie, and it might drag sometimes but I found it a really meaningful watch. I love movies that make you think and see things from a different perspective, and I Can Speak does that!

Intimate Strangers

Year:2018  Director:Lee Jae Gyoo  Genre:Comedy,Drama,Suspense  Country:South Korea

So, I am prepared for the hate, as I know that many people really disliked this film. On the other hand, for those of you who haven't seen it yet, I am here to encourage you to do so. I had such a great time watching this! It is based on an Italian film (Perfect Strangers) and I've heard that it's not as good as the original - most of the time they are not if you were to ask me. Although I haven't seen the original, I have seen this is one and I can say that I loved it.

The whole film is character-driven, so if you don't like movies that happen in a single space, and where the action consists purely of dialogue then yes, this one is not for you. On the other hand, if you like those things, or are curious to try them once, then please go ahead. The plot is nothing complicated. Four lifelong friends and their partners meet up for a friendly dinner. You can see the casualty with which they talk with each other and it's quite amusing, in the beginning. As the night progresses and the first course arrives on the table, secrets start to come at the surface - no one is perfect, right? By the end of the film (which isn't the best, but the rest of it makes up for that in my opinion) you don't know what to expect.

I have to talk about the actors and how they intersect a bit because there were so many amusing and nerve-racking moments.

  • Jo Jin Woong and Kim Jee Soowe all know that one IT couple that seems to have everything in order and a perfect relationship. This is how they present themselves at the start of the film. I found Jee Soo's character the more interesting of the 2. Many events from the film happen because of her initiative and mind games, and her perfect wife and mother image start to crumble by the end. 
  • Yoo Hae Jin and Yeom Jung AhI was always a sucker for the underdog, so at first, I really felt for Jung Ah's character. Her marriage was far from ideal and she always faded in the darkness compared to her entourage. You will see though, that there is almost no one-dimensional character in this film.
  • Lee Seo Jin and Song Ha Yoonas much as I love Seo Jin, he was really a terrible person here. His character was very childish but with a devil may care attitude to follow. The honeymoon period this couple was in, soon started to crumble piece by piece.
  • Yoon Gyung Hothe odd one from the bunk, the seemingly only single one, Gyung Ho's character was a joy to watch. Maybe the only one whose secret didn't hurt other people and who just wanted to live his life in peace and quiet.

Intimate Strangers tackles interesting topics that exist in our society. I think the events that are presented, even if they are dramatized, aren't so far from reality. I personally could identify with some aspects of the stories and could associate some characters with people I know. I don't think there should be a shame in that because after all, this film makes it clear that we are humans and we sometimes hurt each other and make mistakes. The question is if we can stand up to them?!

Editors: BrightestStar (1st editor)